With Durango becoming more and more of a bicycling town, and adding features to make bicycling easier and safer, it may be time to make an argument for bicycle owners to step up and contribute to the costs associated with this transformation.
Better riding conditions encourage more bicycle use, a portion of the “active transport modes” as it’s called in the transportation industry.
Bicycles are lightweight and can fit into much smaller areas than can automobiles – bicycles overwhelmingly win the contest of the ratio of the weight and cubic feet of the conveyance to its passenger – but their use requires some infrastructure investment and maintenance.
They take automobiles off the road in some circumstances, whether for recreation or non-recreation.
Striping to designate bike lanes along the outside of the driving lanes, and at some intersections – a growing number of intersections – where bicycles are encouraged to travel and to wait for the light in line with automobiles, requires some construction spending.
Some cities and states have tried bicycle assessments. Fees levied at the time of store purchase has been most effective, with a low administrative cost. And, a couple of municipalities have quickly discovered that strict enforcement – on that 14 year-old rider, for example – resulted in public pushback against the entire concept.
We would spare lower cost bicycles from an annual fee, those costing less than $200, say. And, we would exclude owners under 18. The expense could be an issue for low wage job holders and for youth but that could be negotiated. The fee would not be designed to reduce bicycle ownership.
The fee amount? Of that we are uncertain. Perhaps $25 per year? $40? Consider it contributing a fair share.
To reduce administrative costs, an internet web site and credit card payment would be utilized, with the paid sticker arriving in the mail as it does for your car from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Would the annual fee generate substantial amounts of money? Probably not, but then again there is an increasing number of bicycles in the community and the state, and the amount could grow to be significant.
One benefit would that automobile drivers, long used to complaining that bicycle riders do not contribute to costs, would have to find something else to object to.
Out of state riders here for a week or a weekend? Welcome, we say, and no charge.
But the question remains; what is your reaction?